There are few people in this world who come into your life and leave a forever stamp on it. That was my Nonnie. Knowing her was beyond the greatest gift I have ever had. She was a woman who did everything she could to make sure you knew how loved you truly were. Each day with her was more fun than the last.
I can remember when we all went to the beach and the night, she took us to the board walk for the rides and arcades. My sister’s and I were between ages 9 and 15, and she was dead set on making sure this would be a night for the books, and it surely was. We went into one of the many arcades and I swear, she must have spent well over $200 on just one game that we all stood around for at least an hour. She made sure that we had enough tickets to buy each of us 4 girls whatever we wanted. Her plan did work… it was one of the greatest nights from my childhood that I can remember.
I can remember how she would always make sure that the whole family came to every Christmas dinner. She made sure that all 8 cousins got a card with a little something extra inside, and that we all got along at the kid’s table when it was time to eat. She made those dinners something special and taught us what family was all about.
I can remember the day she started getting sick and had to go into a nursing facility to have some extra help. You’d think that, that would be a drag and really hard… but she would make jokes and make us all laugh like we were still at her house gathered in the living room. She made it seem like nothing, and that she would be out of there in no time because she felt better and better with each passing day. She could always make a bad situation seem not so awful.
But I can also remember the day she forgot. I remember going to visit her with my dad, and the first thing she said was, “Who the heck are you?” The woman that I loved so much and looked up to, had no idea who I was. I looked up at my dad and asked, “Does she really not know who we are?” That was when I realized how real everything he had explained to me about her condition, really was. Every now and again, she would remember who we were… some family members better than others, but each time she would say any of our names, would be a spark of hope. Sometimes, I would go to visit her on my own and just sit in her room watching game shows and infomercials while she slept. There were some days that she would suddenly wake up and yell out, “Lindsay! Change the channel!” or “Lindsay, get me some water.” Even hearing her ask me, the girl in one of the hundreds of pictures we filled her room with, a simple question, was something I cherished deep in my heart.
I wish every day that I could still sit in that room with her, and hear her say my name. Or just hear her say, “I love you” even if she was just pretending because she couldn’t recall who I was. I miss her more today than I did yesterday, and I will still miss her more tomorrow.
I participate in this Walk because I know the pain and the feeling when a person you love endlessly has no idea who you are. I want it to end. I want there to be a cure. And even though it cannot change my past, it can change someone else’s future. Every step is just other step closer to finding a cure. I know in my heart that one day, somehow, this will end. There WILL be a cure – so lets get to it, together.
Thank you for hearing my story and THANK YOU for helping me in this fight to end Alzheimer’s for good!
Dedicated to my Nonnie, Lena, from all of her loves.
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